Taken from ‘The Book of Belstone’ (Words and images from a Dartmoor village) by Chris and Marion Walpole.
Origins of the name: 1100BC; the Phoenicians have founded Cadiz and a band of adventurers journey into the Atlantic to make a landfall far to the north. They seek the high ground and give thanks for safe passage to He Who Rides on the Clouds, the god of life and fertility, Baal. A stone from the clitter, shaped in the form of a sacred calf, is pulled to the summit and worshipped. A settlement is made below the hill, called Baal’s ton ….This romantic explanation of the villages name was proposed by the Victorians.
More prosaic are 20th century interpretations. Domesday records Bellestan or Bellestam, from belle bell and stan stone, possibly the logan stone identified by Rev Baring-Gould that rolled like a ship in a gale, and the boys were wont to make it crack nuts for them; it has been thrown down and broken up by the quarrymen. Alternatively Bellestham, from belles a common personal name and ham an enclosure. Variations occur in the early references, including Belestana (1166), Ballestan (1238), Belestan (1259), Bylston (1524) and Belson(1596), but the usual spelling between the 16th and early 19th centuries was simple Belston.
The book was first published as a limited edition of 200 presentation boxes on 26 October 2002. These special boxes have now sold out but the book continues to be available separately.
In this fascinating and richly detailed account first-time authors Chris and Marion Walpole bring the history of Belstone to life. Many readers will know the village as a starting point for walks into the heart of Dartmoor; armed with this text they can also explore the hidden corners and forgotten industries of a beautiful corner of the moor. From Beating the Bounds to letterboxes, from cricket clubs to the Women’s Institute, the authors cover every facet of village life through the centuries, introducing the reader to a host of colourful characters, incidents and stories. The text concludes with a section describing every house in the parish.
The A5 soft-back book has 193 pages, including 19 pages of black and white photographs and three pages of maps, graphs and tables.
Truly a mine of information about Belstone past and present … each time I have dipped into it I have found a new gem. The Beacon.
I consider it to be the best of all Dartmoor ‘village’ books of recent years. Dr Tom Greeves, Dartmoor Magazine.
Just about everything you want to know about Belstone can be found in this book. Best Buy Dartmoor News
Full to the brim with information and humourCrediton Country Courier
…. a village publication so popular they printed it twice. Okehampton Times
The book costs £12.50 plus £2.00 postage and packing. All profits to Belstone Village Hall. Cheques to be made payable to ‘Mrs M Walpole’
Tel: 01837 840498